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The City of Milwaukee (WI) distinguishes between them in its new zoning code.
Here are the definitions as they have them:
"Bank or other financial institution" means an establishment providing retail banking, credit and mortgage services. This term does not include a currency exchange, a payday loan agency or a title loan agency.
"Currency exchange" means, in accordance with s. 218.05, Wis. Stats., any person except banks incorporated under the laws of this state and national banks organized pursuant to the laws of the United States and any credit union operating under ch. 186, Wis. Stats., which obtains a certificate of authority from the Wisconsin commissioner of credit unions, engaged in the business of and providing facilities for cashing checks, drafts, money orders and all other evidences of money acceptable to such community currency exchange for a fee, service charge or other consideration. This term does not include any person engaged in the business of transporting for hire, bullion, currency, securities, negotiable or nonnegotiable documents, jewels or other property of great monetary value nor any person engaged in the business of selling tangible personal property at retail nor any person licensed to practice a profession or licensed to engage in any business in this state, who in the course of such business or profession and, as an incident thereto, cashes checks, drafts, money orders or other evidences of money.
And here are a couple more related ones:
"Title loan agency" means an establishment providing loans to individuals in exchange for receiving titles to the borrowers' motor vehicles as collateral.
"Payday loan agency" means an establishment providing loans to individuals in exchange for personal checks as collateral.
Districts that permit banks don't necessarily permit currency exchanges, which appear to be more tightly restricted (based on my cursory perusal of the use tables).
Special use in commercial districts in the land development code I wrote for my former employer. Check cashing stores may have a physical impact that is no different than banks, but they have a great social impact because of the stigma associated with the use. Their presence can affect the dynamic of a shopping center or neighborhood, and attract other downscale uses such as furniture rental, pawn shops, and so on, hurting commercial and retail diversity.
Bank -- branch of a financial institution granted a charter under the Florida Comptroller’s Office Division of Banking as a state-chartered bank, savings and loan, or credit union. A bank does not include a check cashing or payday loan establishment, loan or mortgage broker, stock broker or other financial institution without a state bank charter. A bank may include automatic teller machines, but an automatic teller machine alone is not considered a bank.
306.5.3 Permitted locations
Banks are permitted by right in the C-V and C-G districts.
306.42 Retail store
Retail store – establishment of =60,000’2 (5500 m2) GFA, where =60% of the gross floor area is devoted to the sale or rental of goods or merchandise to the public for personal or household consumption or to services incidental to the sale or rental of such goods or merchandise.
306.42.3 Permitted locations
* Retail stores are permitted by right in the C-V and C-G district.
* Businesses offering these services are considered subject to the special review process. Such uses are considered in the C-G zoning district only; and must be placed =500’ (155 m) from residential zoned property and =2000’ (610 m) from similar uses. · Check cashing and personal loan services – business that provides limited financial services to individuals, such as check cashing, deferred deposit and payday loans, and other short term loans.
· Pawn shop – business that loans money on the security of personal property and/or automobiles; and sells unclaimed property.
· Rent-to-own – business that rents or leases of durable household items such as furniture, appliances, and electronics.